As the hospitality industry converges on Addis Ababa for the African Hotel Investment Forum 2015 (AHIF), Hilton Worldwide has announced the signing of a management agreement with Sunshine Business PLC for the upscale Hilton Awassa Resort & Spa, Ethiopia which is expected to begin welcoming guests in 2020.

"With a strong legacy of hospitality in Ethiopia, Hilton Awassa Resort & Spa will join Hilton Addis Ababa in offering world-renowned service, in this rapidly evolving part of the country," says Patrick Fitzgibbon, senior vice president of development, Europe & Africa for Hilton Worldwide.

"With a further $55million of government funding committed to delivering an airport for Awassa by 2018, the future is bright for travelers to southern Ethiopia.  We are delighted to be making this announcement here at AHIF where we are also celebrating the milestone of 20,000 Hilton rooms open or under development across Africa."

In partnership with Sunshine Business PLC, up to $42million will be invested in developing the 30,000 square metre Hilton Awassa Resort & Spa, with construction expected to begin later this year.  Located on the banks of Lake Awassa, in the Great Rift Valley and stretching beyond Amora Gedel National Park, the property will feature 169 guest rooms and villas, with an outdoor swimming pool and spa complex acting as its centerpiece.

In addition to four dining options, including a specialty restaurant and pool bar & grill; the property will feature extensive meetings and events space, with more than 1000 square metres of ballroom and pre-function area, as well as a further six meeting rooms.

"With new infrastructure, including a highway to Addis Ababa and an airport expected to begin operations in 2018, we certainly expect to see a tourism and travel boost to Awassa," says Selamawit Samuel, EVP and part owner of Sunshine Business PLC. "We are excited to add Hilton Awassa Resort & Spa to our hotel portfolio. It will give us geographical diversity in our hotel developments - adding tremendous value as we team up with Hilton."

Hilton Hotels & Resorts offers travellers a 96-year legacy of innovation in hospitality, with more than 550 hotels in its portfolio in 82 countries and territories. Awassa's attractive blend of tranquil scenery and growing presence as a connected business centre has seen it enjoy substantial growth and investment in recent years. Earlier this year the new Awassa Industrial Park was announcement - a major investment set to host global manufacturing companies, and showcasing Ethiopia's diversifying economy.

Hilton Awassa Resort & Spa will join a portfolio of more than 70 Hilton Worldwide properties either trading or under development in Africa. With new Hilton additions to the portfolio in N'Djamena and Kampala expected in the coming 12 months, Hilton Worldwide is growing at an unprecedented pace, leading the industry with 20,000 rooms either trading or under development across the continent.